It’s WWW Wednesday, a tag hosted on Taking on a World of Words It’s easy to do, just answer the three questions below!
What are you currently reading?
I’m taking part in this year’s Spookathon, so my current reads for that are The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I’m liking the comics, but it does feel very much like set up for real stories and I wish there were more, you know, Sabrina in them. I’m not too far into the Shirley Jackson, so no initial thoughts yet. Though, I will say, I thought I wasn’t familiar with the story because I thought I hadn’t seen any adaptations, BUT I have actually seen the 1999 movie that everyone hates (though I vaguely remember enjoying/being creeped out by when I was a kid).
What did you recently finish reading?
I was attempting to complete the Charms Extra Credit and I have to admit this is the first readathon failure that I’ve had. Don’t get me wrong, I completed two things, which for anyone else I wouldn’t judge as a failure, but for me that’s crazy. You’ll see why in the reviews…
Exit Strategy (Murderbot Diaries #4) (★★★★☆) :
This series had its ups and downs, but overall it was so much fun. Being in the anti-social Murderbot’s head was hilarious and so relatable. This latest adventure was better than the last two (because any time Murderbot is interacting with humans is a good time), but I still think the first book is the best one so far. I know Martha Wells is writing a full-length novel in the series now, so I’ll definitely be picking that up when it comes out. (Audio via Scribd)
Muse of Nightmares (★★★☆☆):
(TL;DR: Unpopular opinion, I think it was messy fan-service that I was extremely disappointed by)
If you follow me on Goodreads or Instagram, you’ll know just how much of a struggle reading this book was. I started it first thing on Monday and it just could not make it through. That never happens to me. I picked up Exit Strategy on Saturday just to make sure I could complete something during the readathon, and then I had to force myself to finish the book on Sunday. This is going to be all unpopular opinions so please take all of the following criticisms with a grain of salt. I wanted to like this and I’m glad you did/will if you’ve read it. But here are my issues:
It started off really rough. The first chapter introduced all new characters, and it’s unclear from the beginning when it’s supposed to have taken place. So from the start, I couldn’t really jump right back into the story from the cliffhanger like I wanted to. Wehn we finally got back to Lazlo and company, the narrative/perspectives seemed to have changed style from the first book/I just don’t remember it clearly enough. With everyone talking int he same scenes, it was really jarring when the perspectives would change. You’d be in Lazlo’s head but then all of a sudden you’d be hearing about Minya’s motivations, then in Sirai’s. It was a lot of messy back and forth rather than neat sections focused on one person. This didn’t really continue for the rest of the book, but it’s what made the beginning so slow because I had to keep restarting to keep the story straight.
Now I don’t want to give spoilers for any of rest, so I’ll talk more broadly. My main problem is this felt like poorly done fan service. Laini Taylor knew everyone was expecting a lot out of this sequel. We needed backstory, when need resolution, we needed more Lazlo-Sirai personal time. And we got all that, and it was too much. This felt like 3 books shoved into one. The backstory takes over the plot and expands the world in a way that doesn’t fit the book. We could’ve had a quieter, more streamlined plot that dealt with characters we already knew and really examined everyone’s motivations rather than introducing all these new plot lines/crazy explanations/weird tonal shifts/and obvious set up for followup books.
I’ve seen rave reviews saying “Forget all your expectations, because this book will deliver all of that and so much more.” But to me, that feels, lazy (?) in a way? If your readers couldn’t have possibly known what would be in the second book, that doesn’t mean it was an excellent twist. It means you were missing the foundations and foreshadowing you needed in the first book.
Reading all of that back, I see places I want to expand upon but it doesn’t really belong here I think. I’ll make a separate review/gripe post if you want more discussion. (Audio via Libby)
For those of you living under a rock and haven’t been bombarded with everyone reading/listening to Sadie, it’s a “YA” thriller/mystery book with two storylines: One follows Sadie after her little sister is murdered and she’s out for revenge; the other is a podcast format following a few steps behind Sadie. Like everyone else, I highly recommend the audio for this; it’s a full-cast and because half of it is a podcast anyway, it just makes sense. Plus Sadie is voiced by Rebecca Soler, who’s one of my favorite YA narrators (she did the Lunar Chronicle books). Trigger warnings for pretty much everything, but especially pedophilia, sexual assault, blood, substance use disorder and violence.
This was an incredibly fast read, but saying that it wasn’t the most “thrilling” thriller. Rather than DUN DUN DUN moments, there’s more of a quiet darkness about the story. It’s just quick because of the shifting storylines. This was really difficult to listen to at times, especially in the second half. It was a really powerful story that was well-plotted (unlike some other YA thrillers I’ve read that have this air of inevitability that just sucks any intrigue out of the stories). It’s left open-ended so you don’t know exactly what happens, which to me is fine though other might hate.
I do have a different issue with the ending though. You don’t hear from Sadie after the 85/90% mark. The author/podcast host tries to pass this off as “she was a secondary character in her own life.” But to me, and I’d love to hear other thoughts on this, this seems to rob her of her agency. The whole story is her struggling to maintain/regain control, and to not let her tell her own ending seems like a disservice to her and to other survivors out there. She doesn’t have a voice in the end. (Audio via Libby)
Path of Daggers (★★★☆☆)
I’m still pushing my way through these books. At this point I know this series just isn’t for me, even if I ignore my legitimate criticisms and look at the “good parts.” This one wasn’t as bad or annoying as the last two, and at least it was shorter. I’m still powering through because, apparently, I’m a masochist. Eight books down, six more to go. (Audio via Libby)
What do you think you’ll read next?
What I’ve acquired: I went to two library book sales this weekend, which meant two pretty big, cheap hauls. I’ll detail all the books in my next post, but I got 24 books for 27 bucks!